Good Mom vs. Bad Mom
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The big debate that goes on forever and never receives a determining ballot. It is like one of those debriefs where everything about the topic is complicated and it seems to never end. Almost like an election where it’s Hilary vs. Trump all over again except no one ever wins. I am talking about the whole debacle consideration of a good mom and/or bad mom. Yes, the silent debate with an ongoing ballot entry. What’s ironic is the place where these debates always transpire. It’s not in the hallway or during the homeschool meetings. Nope, it’s not at the gym or in between yoga poses. It is within our minds. The one place we always seem to lose control.
I don’t know about all the momma’s out there but I know for me this debate enters my head every time I look at my kids and pick at something I missed. Perfect example, ever forget it was picture day until you pulled out the samples from your child’s backpack and they looked a total mess? I’m talkin’ wrinkled shirt, no color coordination, chocolate on the side of the cheek, bad hair and a stain right in the center of the shirt that screams at you for forgetting to do the laundry.
How about this example, the great discussion you think they are having in daycare about the lunch you packed for your child? You see other children whose mom’s dropped off the whole fridge and you, you sent him/her Chef Boyardee, apple sauce, cheerios and a juicy juice. What happened to the organic fruit and celery sticks (what you imagine them saying with the laser eyes)? All of a sudden you hear the judgement conversations that only exist in your head amongst the caretakers. Guilt is what you deal with daily. Like when you show up to parent teacher conferences with no makeup, a greasy t-shirt and bags under your eyes that screams for a nap because you have been working overtime. You feel bad about picking up McDonald’s on the way home and having to sign back into your work laptop. Somehow you pull it together and take on another hit from the teacher that says do better bitch! At least that is what your mind interprets at the end of the parent-teacher conferences.
How about all the fundraisers and the bonuses for classroom teachers they ask for your help with? Do you hear the judges cackling in the background when you send in that envelope empty? Can you hear all the faults and flaws you missed in your head? Ok let’s take it a step deeper. How about you’re a single mom for a reason? You should’ve known better. You should’ve known that he was not adequate to be the father of your child and you were just another body on his body count list. Is this cutting through the gut yet?
In case you haven’t herd it today, you are doing a fantastic job, mom. Yes, I know there are single fathers out there and I applaud them for taking on such a huge role. You are the real superhero’s that some of us are so extremely lucky to have. However, in this article I am speaking to the mommas because we are rollercoasters of emotions constantly doubting our abilities. We (parents) read all the books, follow recipes, we multi-task a million projects in the air and always forget about the most important one, ourselves. First let’s attack some of these ridiculous myths that have been floating around for years.
I remember when I first became a mom. I used to feel guilty for wanting to be at home with my baby and couldn’t afford it. Then I felt guilty because I wasn’t married. After one month of being home with my baby I realized, being a stay home mom wasn’t for me. I was actually looking forward to going back to work a month later. After returning to work, I felt guilty for leaving my son with strangers at a daycare because I had to work and couldn’t afford a nanny. Do you see the sick guilt cycle that just keeps coming? It’s toxic and if we don’t put an end to it, it simply consumes us. Don’t be like me. Don’t be that girl!
Unfortunately, some of these judgements about being a single-mother actually does transpire outside your head. Trust me because I have been in your shoes. I’ve heard the hurtful remarks. The “another kid being raised in a broken family” comments. Let me just say this, being a single mother doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you stronger and relentless. Keep pressing forward momma! Now let’s discuss these myth’s that we have created to keep us down.
Myth 1: Bad or Good Mom
There is no such thing as bad or good mom. There is just mom. Yeah I said it! Even if you are a drug addict and you have been gutted by past testimonies and pathologies, you are still, mom. Sure there are qualities that sets us apart as mothers but it is not who spent more time frosting the cup cakes in the morning, or who read more stories at night. Let’s remove all that pressure from ourselves. As mothers what we can control are the deposits we make in our children’s lives. Are you really listening to your children? Are you willing to do what is best for them and in their best interest at all times? Are you willing to make sacrifices for them? Do you show them you love and care about them daily or as much as possible? How about this one: Have you told them how proud you are off them and how much you love them? There is no manual on parenting, all you can do is unlearn any negative behaviors that keeps you paralyzed from developing a good relationship with your children. Parenting is the toughest job that never pays you. It’s a lifetime commitment. You put in all this work and then they leave the nest. You worry every time they leave your site. You may also be the best parent there is and still end up with unkind, ungrateful, and nasty adults in the future. And guess what? That was not your fault! Do your best within your means, not the best that society dims you should. Because let’s face it ladies, we are playing every role in our children’s lives. Therefore, if you decide to take some time for yourself, they will survive. If you fear they won’t, then you have done something terribly wrong.
Myth 2: It’s Your Fault Their Father Left
Erase that from your memory bank. Anyone who says this is plain mean, inconsiderate, and clearly know nothing about your situation. Let’s make the distinction that if someone exists the relationship they are leaving the relationship with you the adult, not the children. They are separate and should remain that way. So throw that opinion in the trash and burn it! You are not to be held responsible for another adults actions. Say that again. It is not your responsibility to make a person stay who doesn’t want to. It is not your responsibility to teach a man how to be a father. It is also not your responsibility to raise a man. While we are capable of many things women, we cannot do this one. We cannot continue to take the blame for what the other parent falls short to do. What you can do is advocate for your child. Requiring the other parent to be a responsible parent financially, physically, and emotionally is you protecting your child’s best interest. I know it may cut us every time we have to ask another adult to be consistent with their promises, their visitation, their financial obligations, and most of all their love. However, that relationship is not something within your control. Your child is your responsibility and all you can do is forgive yourself for feeling ashamed, forgive the other person for not knowing better, and help your child learn to forgive too. Anger/rage is crippling and takes many different forms. You don’t want that brewing in your child’s heart and hardening their ability to live as happily as possible. Communicating daily with your child can help tremendously and reassures them that you will always be there for them. Always remind each other that you both will be fine.
Myth 3: Stay At Home Moms vs. Working Moms
Can we like kill this war! Like it’s 2019! Why are we still having this whole stay at home moms vs. working moms? Even though I will say this, the way inflation is set up. It is hard to be a stay at home mom and not hustle for something on the side. Groceries are expensive and these kids are not eating any less. Being a mom is hard enough! Why do we need to make it a competition amongst ourselves? Have you stopped to think that maybe this is part of the problem? That just maybe, we should be helping each other more instead of judging one another. Do you know what stay-at-home moms and working moms have in common? We both need more alone time away from the kids. So can we agree to work on this common goal? And can we just go up to each other and say you’re doing a great job? Ok ladies?
Myth 4: Motherhood Is Every Woman’s Dream
Motherhood is extremely hard. There isn’t enough self-care in the world to make it any easier. You can’t avoid the hard nights, sleepless mornings, and the constant chaos. While I love my kids and wouldn’t trade them for the world, I understand why women decide not to have children. It takes patience, hella money, and giving up a whole lot. Your life tends to take a back seat and everything revolves around the children once you become a mother. I want you to know if you are one of these women who have decided not to have children, you are not selfish. You are being a realist. If it is not something you want to do then don’t do it. Just because all your friends are doing it doesn’t mean it’s something you should do. Motherhood is no easy task and I recommend mothers to seek therapy as they go through the volatile emotions of motherhood. It is extremely overwhelming and sometimes you can find yourself slipping into the seas of depression. Especially, when you’re constantly giving and not reserving anything for your own cup. You begin to forget who you were prior to having children. So please seek help and stop feeling guilty about it. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. So remove this myth too.
I could go on and on with the endless list of myth’s we should stop believing but you ladies get my point. Let’s be kinder to ourselves momma’s. If you want to read a book while drinking wine, just do it. If you want to go after a dream, chase it. Sure you will have to balance life and the children but never feel ashamed for wanting more. If you want time for yourself, take it. Stop feeling guilty for not being mom first, all the time. Give yourself permission to live free from the “guilt” of all these myths. It is critical to take care of yourself first so you can be a better person and mother for your children. Let these myths go! Get rid of the pressure and set yourself free! Don’t you feel lighter on your feet already? Do you feel like your shoulders just got a little looser? Comment below if you’re already feeling like twinkle toes. Share this with any mommas who need these words of encouragement. Chao!